Monday, August 11, 2014

Do You Want to Learn What REAL love is?

Come and join over 200 other women who are studying the REAL meaning of love, God's love.  Our 30 week study starts September 9th, 6:50 pm at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange.  Located near the corner of Taft and Orange-Olive Road.   See registration form at top right-hand side of this blog.

If I say  the phrase “the love of God,” many thoughts might pop into your mind. If you’re a hymn lover   you might think of the chorus, “Oh love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.” On a more contemporary level, if you love the singer Marty Goetz, who is a Messianic Jew, you might hear the words, “There for you, there for me, there for free, the love of God.” Or maybe you don’t hear music at all. Maybe John 3:16 comes to mind: “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” Of course it’s also possible that you’ve never been aware of the love of God, so that phrase brings only doubts. What I hope you will all think about by the time we’re finished with our 30 week study in the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians is that all followers of Jesus Christ are to not only BE loved with God’s love, but they’re commanded to love OTHERS with the same kind of love. We can’t do that until we understand what God’s love looks like. 1 and 2 Corinthians will give us a gold mine of information on how God loves and how we can learn to love like He does.

Of course even people who have never read the Bible have heard 1 Cor 13 read, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails.” Well, let me ask you a question and I want you to be totally honest. You don’t have to answer out  loud, but as you look at the way you love others, how does it measure up to that standard? I sort of fall apart at the first line, “love is patient”! “It doesn’t envy” doesn’t help me much either! How about “keeping no record of wrongs”? I think it quickly becomes apparent that the love spoken of here is the highest ideal of love. It’s the way God loves.

So how can we, as mere mortals, be asked to love each other in this exact same way? That brings us right back to our Corinthians study, because within these two books we come face to face with the Holy Spirit. That’s the only way we will ever be able to love with God’s love---through the Holy Spirit who is given to each person who receives Jesus as their Savior and Lord. We’re going to learn so much about Him this year—and notice I said HIM.  The Holy Spirit is not a force or a power, He is a person.  We will also be looking at the gifts that He gives to us and hopefully identifying which ones are working in our individual lives.

 In addition, so many important and contemporary topics will be addressed in our study this year, one of the most pivotal being what happens when the church begins to veer away from the truth of God’s Word and begins to exchange it for the world’s standards? Paul the Apostle, the writer of Corinthians, will help us understand how to be culturally sensitive while remaining doctrinally sound and spiritually pure. We will study, singleness, marriage, and divorce and what God says about it. We will also look at life after death and what it means to the Christian. And that’s just in 1 Corinthians! In 2 Corinthians the central theme will be the relationship between suffering and the power of the Holy Spirit. Who hasn’t asked the question, “Why” in the face of personal suffering or suffering as seen in the world today?

We will also receive a short course in spiritual warfare and how to battle our true enemy, Satan. Yes, he’s real, and he hates you. The great Christian poet and commentary writer J. Sidlow Baxter wrote that studying Corinthians is “like trying to hold the ocean in a teacup”. That makes me think of the last verse of the hymn I quoted earlier, speaking of the  love of God: “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

I hope you’ll join us at CBS and experience the love of God for yourself. 

In His Service~Patty Bivens

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